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(title page) The Discipline of the Heart, To Be Connected with the Culture of the Mind; A Discourse on Education, Delivered to the Students of the College, At Chapel Hill, North Carolina, August 22, 1830, and Published by Their Request
Rev. William Hooper, Professor of Ancient Languages in the University of N.C.
Sleight and Robinson, Printers, No. 26, William Street.
C378 UK3 1830H (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
LC Subject Headings:
[Title Page Image]
1 COR. xiii. 2.--Though I understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and have not charity, I am nothing.
IT is of the highest importance to those who are obtaining an education, that they should previously have formed a correct opinion respecting what a good education is, or in other words, what is the main end of education. Now, I think I may venture to assert, without danger of contradiction, that the chief business of education is, to develope, to cultivate, and to train towards perfection, all the useful and agreeable powers of man. It may be compendiously expressed in what one of the ancients tells us ought to constitute our prayer to heaven, "that we may possess a sound mind in a sound body."* * Orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.--JUV. SAT. 10.
* Orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.--JUV. SAT. 10.
Our constitution may be said to consist of three parts, the animal, the intellectual, and the moral, to each of
which a judicious education will pay a careful regard. It will not, by an excessive attention to our animal part, by bending all its efforts to impart strength and activity to the body, train up man, like the wrestlers and racers of antiquity, as if the gymnastic arena were the properest theatre for his exertions, and the palm there won, the most glorious premium of humanity. Nor will it, by a too ardent and intense occupation of the mental powers, refuse to our bodily system its appropriate exercise; thus impairing health, fixing upon us all the miseries of a broken constitution, and rendering impossible those very intellectual achievements, for which we have made such costly sacrifices.
But even if education maintained a just and impartial balance between the claims of body and mind--if it carried on, hand in hand, the improvement of our corporeal and intellectual faculties, still it might be essentially defective. It might leave entirely out of consideration a third and most important part of our nature, to wit, our moral character; abandoning it to the mercy of circumstances, and furnishing it not with any preparation for the duties and the exigencies of life. Doubtless, a good education would respect the claims of each of these parts of the human system, and carry them on in harmonious combination.
An exclusive, nay even a principal attention to the enjoyments of our animal nature, wears so ignoble and base an aspect, that few would have the hardihood to defend it and it has stamped with eternal infamy the
school of Epicurus. Yet, although no ingenuous youth would theorize in defence of sensuality, and prostitute his reason by endeavouring to found Epicureanism upon argument, unhappily too many practise this system to its full extent, and actually make animal pleasure their god, ashamed as they may be to confess it. They acknowledge that reason ought to be the arbiter of their actions, but in practice, sense leads them captive, while reason, conscience, friends and country, cry out in vain against so vile a servitude. How many ethereal minds, which might have reflected lustre on their country, have been besotted; how many amiable dispositions, which might have circulated happiness through society, have been brutalized by a base subjection to voluptuousness! Many a fine youth, whose head was furnished with fair theories of morals, and who could speculate eloquently on the charms of virtue, has proved an unequal match for imperious appetite, and has been dragged on to ruin, an unwilling, an indignant, and self-abhorring victim, at the chariot wheels of this tyrant of the soul. Ah, what then becomes of all his inward furniture--his rich apparatus of capacities for godlike deeds, and godlike enjoyments, when, with them all, he is found unable to contend against the basest propensities, but is brought down by a vicious indulgence of them to a level with the lowest of the rabble! What avail to him, then, the years it was his privilege to spend in collegiate retirement--surrounded by libraries, embodying the collected wisdom of
the world--carefully instructed by professors in the various branches of knowledge, and sent forth upon the stage of action, with mental powers qualifying him to honour himself, to serve his country, and to bless society! After all this laboured intellectual preparation, if his moral nature be not trained, and regulated, and controlled, by inflexible principles of rectitude, he may become the slave of brutal appetites; and be a far less useful member of society than the humble ploughman, whose mind penury has kept ignorant of all the lights of philosophy. There is a depressing apprehension, which sometimes comes upon those, who have the charge of education--lest all their labours should be thrown away; a melancholy uncertainty, whether the young mind, for which it is the labour of their whole lives to gain and communicate knowledge, may not, after all, dissipate its powers in idleness, or drown them in pleasure. It is like that feeling, which sickens the heart, and unnerves the arm of the husbandman, on some exposed frontier. As he toils along after his plough, his spirits flag, his feet drag heavily, with the mournful consideration, that ere long, perhaps, some ruthless invader will desolate his smiling fields, and bloody soldiers riot on that corn and wine intended for his own family. It is like the miserable disappointment of the Mantuan swain, when he heard the edict of the Emperor, that he must yield up his little farm to the disbanded legionaries of Augustus: "shall the barbarian possess this dear home of mine?" he exclaims, in the bitterness
of his soul, as he goes to prepare his exiled family for their removal! "Shall trifling pleasures" exclaims the teacher in his melancholy anticipations, "shall trifling pleasures hereafter engross, shall vicious excesses debauch, that mind, which I am now so solicitous to enrich with the spoils of knowledge, and to charm with the embellishments of literature?" The thought that peradventure this may be the sad issue, must dishearten him in his work, and cool the enthusiasm with which a mind, itself enamoured of knowledge, loves to pour it into other minds greedy to imbibe it. Oh! could he be secure of a favourable result--could he have a guaranty for the conscientious improvement and application of the knowledge he imparts--could he know that not a hint dropped would be lost, but might serve as the first light in a line of telegraph, to send intelligence over a continent--what new ardour would it lend to his hours of study, and how much more rapidly and cheerfully would his mind move along the toilsome steep of learning! To give some security that all the discipline of pupilage shall not be completely frustrated by subsequent degeneracy--that the reasonable hopes of parents and tutors may not be cruelly wrecked upon the rocks of pleasure, which beset most thickly the early part of life's voyage, it should be deeply impressed on those who direct, and those who receive education, that our moral part is by far the most important--the most noble part of our nature. Without a due culture of that, intellect may be possessed in vain. It may be
like a precious gem, buried in a dung-hill; or, if it shine, it may be only as the lightning's flash, to rive and to consume. High talents, if not regulated by principle, and consecrated to virtuous ends, will only involve the possessor in the uncommon guilt, the terrific responsibility, of having received and having prostituted heaven's choicest gifts. Surely, instead of applause, the scorn and the imprecations of society ought to pursue such a man, for basely defrauding them of those benefits, which his talents were lent him from above to impart to others. He is like those noxious insects, which generate poison from those very juices. whence the bee extracts the purest honey.
Nor will a cultivated intellect confer happiness on its possessor, any more than it will adorn or bless society, unless it be accompanied by virtuous affections. As you cultivate and refine the mind, you sharpen the sensibility, you disclose higher possibilities of excellence, you erect a loftier standard of happiness, you awaken from their dormant state all the aspiring appetites of the soul. Of course, you are preparing keener pangs for disappointed ambition; quicker irritability against opposition and contradiction; a livelier susceptibility of pain from the crosses and vexations of life; a clearer discernment of all the imperfections of mankind, and consequently a readier and stronger disgust at them--a disgust tending to throw the mind into a state, either of self-corroding scorn, or sullen misanthropy. In proportion, therefore, as the intellect is exalted,
and the taste refined, there is need that our moral nature should be confirmed in rectitude, and all our affections enlisted on the side of virtue; just as a tower requires a more ample foundation, the higher it mounts into the air.
It is the more necessary to insist upon such considerations to an audience like this, because, at a seat of learning, genius is apt to be held in higher estimation than any other quality. It is idolized--it is adored: to it every knee bows--to it every tongue offers anthems of praise. To possess it is considered the highest glory of man, and to eulogise it furnishes a favourite theme for the exhibition of eloquence. It is considered as an expiation for almost any vice, and as even shedding lustre upon a career of profligacy. But let the adorers of genius remember, that, in the eye of heaven, moral excellence stands on far more exalted ground than intellectual--that even the infernal spirits, whose bosoms, we are taught to believe, overflow with every malignant and detestable passion, far transcend in mental powers the proudest geniuses of mortal birth--and that the man of plain understanding, who governs his passions, who cannot be lured by interest, or deterred by danger, from the path of rectitude, is a nobler, a sublimer, a dearer spectacle to God and angels, than the most brilliant intellect, leagued with a wicked disposition. Ah, what will avail all your literary and scientific accomplishments, if you carry within your own breasts the tormentors of your peace! You may
be flattered and caressed by your acquaintances, and by the world at large; but after all, you are only the image of Ætna, whose surface smiles with vines and olives, while all its interior rages with fierce and inextinguishable flames.
A cultivated mind, as has been said, acquires a more delicate sensibility than before, and therefore is more easily and deeply wounded by adverse fortune, by the various crosses and repulses, which all of us are destined to meet, in our intercourse with a selfish world, and the thousand little, nameless vexations of daily life. It shrinks, like the sensitive plant, from the slightest touch. Impediments, which would not at all disquiet a coarser or more phlegmatic mind, fill it with fretfulness or despondency. An unkind word or action, scarcely noticed by another, cuts it to the quick. Pride of character, and a morbid dread of the world's sneer, make it apt to construe into an affront any hasty word that may be dropped in conversation or business--an affront to be revenged by arms, and to be expiated only by blood. So much more vulnerable does cultivation render the mind of man.
But even should a man of education escape the usual oppositions and vexations, which mar the happiness of the majority--should life's surface be as smooth as that of the ocean in halcyon days, yet prosperity itself becomes a tedious uniformity--the heart sickens in the midst of abundance, and a dull insipidity spreads its leaden influence over the listless hours.
Behold yonder young man! He has obtained his education--he is in easy circumstances--his constitution is vigorous--his friends are numerous and kind. Yet what means that languid air, that cloud upon his brow, that expression of discontent and unrest in his whole manner? Why, he has tasted all that life has to bestow, and he is sated with it. It has left the mind unfilled--it has left the heart disappointed. He has at his command the pleasures which money can purchase; but having indulged again and again in those pleasures, the charm of novelty is gone--appetite is cloyed--and nature, languishing and unstrung, tells him that this soft, self-indulgent course of life, was not intended for us, and that voluptuousness is by no means the same thing as happiness. Perhaps guilty excesses have relaxed his frame, and agitated his nerves, and planted envenomed arrows in his conscience. This--this accounts for that listless, wearied air--that brow of sadness--that reluctant sigh, which every now and then escapes from his breast. He is, we may suppose, a favourite child--he is a pampered son. He has been denied nothing. Habitual gratification has rendered his appetites imperious--his will brooks no opposition or refusal. Having grown up in this state, whenever his passions are solicited, he yields to their sway--he stops not at the limits of innocence--he listens not to the whispers of conscience--he thinks not of consequences; the tears of parents--the sting of disgrace--the disgust of satiety,
and remorse, with her scourge of scorpions, ever close to the heels of guilt--all, all are disregarded in the tempest of desire. But the tempest is over in an hour, and you are then at liberty calmly to survey the wrecks of its desolation. To day, "care sits on that faded cheek," which yesterday was flushed with pleasure--heavy and beamless to day is that eye, which yesterday sparkled with joy--and that heart, which then glowed with the delirious fever of present enjoyment, is now the seat of self-loathing, shame, and anxiety. Say, ingenuous young man, you that have a father, or a mother, or a circle of friends, who look to you with tenderness and respect, what would you take to forfeit that esteem, and by a vile act, to become degraded in their eyes? Would it not cost you a pang like the stab of a dagger? Yet to the danger of such misery are you exposed, as long as the love of pleasure holds its empire over you. How must a son, who has spent a night in drinking, gaming, or debauchery, dread lest his irregularities should reach the knowledge of his parents. His feelings have been refined by education--a sense of character has been nourished within him--he knows how to appreciate the approving smile that has rewarded his virtuous conduct, and he knows how to feel the agony of its loss. He lives in constant apprehension, lest his wickedness should come to light--the smiles and caresses of his friends oppress him with conscious demerit--he knows that he is indebted for these testimonies of affection, entirely to the secrecy
of his crimes--he knows that these marks of honour spring from a full belief that he is incapable of such vices as those which have polluted him--he can hardly help giving vent to his bursting emotions, and making to his deceived parents the agonizing confession: that he has "sinned against heaven and them, and is no more worthy to be called their son."
Could we suppose such a young man, as he withdraws himself to his chamber from caresses, rendered insufferable by conscious guilt, to pour forth his feelings in words, we might expect from him some such soliloquy as this: "My kind father has spared no expense in order to furnish me with the blessings of a good education. I have had my mind polished by literature, and enlarged by science and philosophy. But what avails all this, while I am the slave of vile passions, doing the things that I abhor, and tormented with mortification and remorse, in the midst of the flattering compliments of my friends! I would rather be the unlettered rustic, the honest ploughman, that can rise in the morning with a conscience void of offence, than such a wretch as I am, with all the honours that collegiate acquirements can confer.
'One self-approving hour whole years outweighs
Of stupid starers, and of loud huzzas.'
Away with my literary attainments, if gotten at the price of virtue, and if unable to sustain me against the assault of temptation! Give me back my boyish simplicity and ignorance, with which I left my father's
roof, provided you can give me, along with them, my innocence, my respect for a father's authority, my filial tenderness for a mother's happiness, my cheerfulness of heart, when, a stranger to guilty pleasure, I exchanged smiles of affection and joy with my brothers and sisters." These will be the bitter reflections of a youth, not lost to sensibility, when he is enjoying the sunshine of favour, of which he knows himself to be unworthy, and which he sees would be immediately withdrawn, if the truth were known. But if the truth should come to light, then, oh, what must it be to endure the wounds of mortified pride, to encounter the stern frown of an angry father, the tearful look of a fond mother, all, whose long-cherished hopes are now blasted by one cruel stroke! Home cannot be lovely to a youth thus fallen. He must fly far from persons, whose every look and word convey a rebuke to his soul.
Nor is it only the licentious passions, which often rule and deform a lettered mind. To the shame of humanity it must be confessed, that envy, malignity, avarice, and deceit, are oftentimes seen in company with the brightest talents. It is humiliating to our nature to read the biography of the wits and geniuses who have filled the world with their renown. How much mean envy against contemporary merit, how much virulent hatred, and how many vials of wrath emptied upon the heads of opponents! How many dishonourable arts to humble a rival! How much venal flattery to the
wealthy and the noble!* * As to the whole tribe of Poets, a chief among them has characterized his fraternity as the "genus irritabile vatum," and one has but to read Johnson's "Lives of the Poets," in order to find disgusting evidences of the justice of the above charges. Cowper somewhere acknowledges his mortification, after reading Dr. Johnson's work, at the poor figure made by the sons of the muses, morally considered; and does not hesitate to pronounce them, collectively, "a worthless set of men." It is painful to observe how few honourable exceptions there are to this reprouch, and how much expurgation the volumes of the Poets require, before they can be safely trusted to the young, or read in the family circle, without a blush.
If any one wants proof that the most envenomed malignity may co-exist in the same breast with the rarest power of intellect, let him make himself acquainted with the most distinguished controversial writers, with the satirists, and critics, and reviewers, of the past and present times. He will then find, that exquisite mental culture may still leave the mind a prey to the most vindictive passions--that the heart may overflow with gall, although it has been for years feeding on all the elegancies of taste--that in short, the highest aim and proudest triumph of these literary combatants is, to see who can say the bitterest things, who can distil from his pen the most sublimated poison, who can inflict upon his antagonist the keenest pain, and make the world laugh loudest at the writhings of the vanquished. What a melancholy picture is this, of human nature! How plain a proof of the inadequacy of mental cultivation, to cure our deep-seated corruptions--how undeniable an evidence that religion's purifying touch can alone rectify the heart of man! For if high talents, polished and improved to the utmost, could have secured moral excellence, then
* As to the whole tribe of Poets, a chief among them has characterized his fraternity as the "genus irritabile vatum," and one has but to read Johnson's "Lives of the Poets," in order to find disgusting evidences of the justice of the above charges. Cowper somewhere acknowledges his mortification, after reading Dr. Johnson's work, at the poor figure made by the sons of the muses, morally considered; and does not hesitate to pronounce them, collectively, "a worthless set of men." It is painful to observe how few honourable exceptions there are to this reprouch, and how much expurgation the volumes of the Poets require, before they can be safely trusted to the young, or read in the family circle, without a blush.
these eminent geniuses would have attained it. But so far from it, they exhibit the same malicious passions towards their rivals and adversaries, which instigate less intellectual men to take up deadly arms against each other. And doubtless it is well for the world and for themselves, that they wield the pen rather than the sword, or else they would shed the blood of their fellow-men as freely as they do now the contents of their ink-holders. For surely it would not require a particle more of hatred to drive men to desperate battle, than what often shows itself in their literary controversies. If they do not discharge at each other the gross abuse and scurrilous invectives of more vulgar combatants, their words do not wound the less deeply for being more polite. We may apply to them the language of an inspired writer: "Their words are smoother than butter, yet are they drawn swords." Now, can you envy the possession of genius, which is employed in the infliction of pain? Can you covet wit, which finds its favourite exercise in violating the sweet charities of the heart, due from man to man? "Though I understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and have not charity, I am nothing." Ought we not rather to deprecate the possession of talents, if they should tempt us to display them in the annoyance of one another, and only qualify us for being more ingenious and refined tormentors of the sensitive mind? It appears to me that a malicious wit ought to be regarded in no other light than as a gigantic outlaw, whose superiour strength
tempts and enables him to set right and humanity at defiance.
But the mischievous influence of malevolent passions in educated men, is perceptible in many beside those who attract the notice of the public by their disputations. These must be comparatively few; whereas, every man has his own little circle of relatives and acquaintances, whom it is in his power to charm or to vex, according as he introduces among them a kind or a sour disposition. How odious a spectacle is it to see a son go back from college to his parental roof, and vent a spiteful or sarcastic temper upon the members of the family, because they are more ignorant than himself--more ignorant of books, but perhaps far more rational and intelligent in the common intercourse of life! Such a youth shows that whatever else he has learned, he has not learned the magnanimity of being grateful for that generous kindness, to which he is indebted for his superiority. Should such a man marry, how much anguish would he have it in his power to inflict upon the tender and delicate mind of his companion! Her very affection puts her the more completely at his mercy. A word, a look from him, can send a pang to her heart. That very tenderness of sensibility, which qualifies her to be the charm of his life, exposes her to more poignant suffering from his unkindness. And should he have the meanness and the cruelty to trample upon helplessness, to requite love with coldness or severity, and to taunt a delicate mind,
only because it is more susceptible of suffering, all this she must endure in silence; she must lock up the humiliating secret in her own breast. She cannot bear the mortification of confessing that he is unkind. She cannot bear to breathe a syllable, which would detract from his reputation; for that reputation is as dear to her as her own. Sympathy, which alleviates all other distress, cannot have access to this. The heart of an injured wife must bleed unseen; sympathy would only widen and exasperate the wound. It is a sorrow of that peculiar kind, which it is rudeness for any other eye to explore. Nor is the author of this distress more happy than the victim of it. He must, in his better moments, detest himself for this base violation of all the hopes which his once supposed merit inspired--for this unprincipled perjury against his connubial vows--for sinking so far below those goodly promises of honour and virtue on which unsuspicious affection reposed its trust.
In this detail of domestic misery, occasioned by evil tempers, I say nothing of the fate of those unhappy dependants, whom Providence has placed more entirely at his mercy. Well may we suppose that their condition would be that of sheep under the fangs of a tiger. How will he be apt to behave towards his slaves, who can treat even his wife with barbarity?
Thus you see how possible it is, in all the relations of life, for vicious habits and malignant passions to attend and to frustrate the advantages of a cultivated
mind. Yet, my young friends, are you sufficiently aware of this? Are you taking all pains, by a course of moral discipline, to prevent so disastrous a defeat of all your early toils and promises? While you burn with emulation to be distinguished for scholarship, do your breasts glow with kind and generous affections? Or are you conscious that hatred, and envy, and cunning, and lust, and impiety, keep company in your heart with the love of knowledge? Are the Furies and the Harpies permitted to inhabit the same temple with the Muses? You blush if detected in ignorance--even if guilty of a slight mistake. Are you equally ashamed of detecting in yourself any rising emotion, which agitates and pollutes your mind? Are you as studious to gain the approbation of God and your own consciences, as that of your fellow-men? Do you crush every vice in its very birth, as you would crush the brood of the viper? Do you labour to eradicate every malady of your temper and disposition, as carefully as you would pluck a thorn from your hand or your eye.*
they feel little disquietude, though bad dispositions should also be gaining strength, and shooting their pestiferous roots through all the soil of the heart. You have talents, perhaps, you have industry. These give you credit with your acquaintances. Your understanding is ripening, and your literary acquisitions are increasing, every day. But what if at the same time is growing up within you, that pride, which in after life will make you discontented with your lot, scornful to your connections, and bring you into vexations, perhaps fatal contests with your associates?--that fretful, irascible temper, which will agitate your bosom with perpetual tumults, and make you a terrour to your family?--that love of vice, which may early blight your health and your fortunes? Beware, lest you are gaining an education in depraved habits and affections, as well as in science, and lest you be graduated in evil by the time you are ready to be graduated in academic studies. Lay it down as a fixed principle, as an infallible axiom, that without virtue you cannot be happy: that the seeds of it must be cultivated by daily care, and anxious watchfulness, just as you cultivate your mental powers. And if you feel rising in your heart, a desire to be virtuous, let me recommend you to the gospel of Jesus Christ, as the only source of moral strength. Our appetites are too imperious, the temptations of the world are too bewitching, to be resisted by resolutions, formed in a soft and glowing moment, when the virtuous feelings are in full play, and appetite and temptation
lie dormant. Alas! it is easy to bind the sleeping Samson with a few green withes; but when he awakes in his might, these feeble fetters will burst from around him, "as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire." In vain we essay to be good, until the inner man is renewed by the spirit of Christ. "A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit." Make the tree good, and then, but not till then, will the fruit be good. This transformation nothing on earth can achieve, but the gospel. "Without me," says the Saviour, "ye can do nothing;" and the truth of the declaration has been verified in a thousand instances. Thousands have undertaken to fight against their sins in their own strength, but wounds and despair have been their only reward.* * For a graphic and affecting description of the repeated struggles of human nature, in its own strength, to master its dominant lusts, and of its ignominious defeats, driving it at length into desperation, and avowed libertinism of principle, see Cowper's Task, Book v. near the conclusion.
But when the love of God, springing from pardoned sin, is shed abroad in the heart, those commandments become pleasant, which once were intolerably oppressive; they are congenial with the heavenly tempers of the new-born soul. That gladness, which springs up within us when we are delivered from the burden of guilt, and the fear of wrath, gives a healthful elasticity to all our faculties--thus explaining and exemplifying that beautiful apothegm of scripture: "The joy of the Lord is the strength of his people."
* For a graphic and affecting description of the repeated struggles of human nature, in its own strength, to master its dominant lusts, and of its ignominious defeats, driving it at length into desperation, and avowed libertinism of principle, see Cowper's Task, Book v. near the conclusion.
It appears then, from the foregoing considerations, that to acquire knowledge is but a part, and not the most important part of a good education. To discipline the heart, to regulate the temper, to imbibe virtuous affections, and to fortify them by a course of virtuous habits--these are the most difficult and the most valuable attainments to which the morning of life can be devoted. Without these, we have seen that intellectual endowments may be the means of rendering us more miserable and more mischievous in the world. And if it is so in this state of existence, it may be so in that which is to come. Here opens upon us a most frightful and appalling contemplation. It has been said, that the refinement of feeling acquired by mental culture, multiplies the sources of vexation and anxiety in this life, unless it be balanced and controlled by virtuous principle. If it is so here, it will probably be so hereafter. If the disembodied spirit goes out of this world into an abode of misery, the loftier and more intelligent that spirit is, so much the worse for its peace. Its superiour sensibility will only enable it to feel with keener anguish, the horrors of its situation. Its superiour intelligence, its more comprehensive scope of vision, its deeper insight into futurity, will only enable it to take in a more overwhelming idea of endless misery--will only qualify it the better for calculating the height from which it has fallen, and for fathoming the depth, and measuring the length and breadth, of the ruin it has incurred. Oh dreadful superiority!
Oh fatal prescience! More to be deprecated than brutish blindness; only fitting the prophetic soul to bring within its field of contemplation, a larger portion of the eternal wrath that stretches illimitably before it! The thought is too oppressive to dwell upon. Let it humble the crest of pride--let it make worshipped genius tremble, to reflect, that what constitutes here its glory and its felicity, will, in the world of retribution, be the chief instrument of its torture. It was with the strictest propriety that the great epic poet makes the prince of devils confess himself supreme in wretchedness, as he was in guilt and intellect--the victim of wo unknown to any fallen spirit of inferiour degree. It was the lost arch-angel alone, from whose racked bosom was wrung that awful lamentation:
Me miserable! which way shall I fly
Infinite wrath, and infinite despair?
Which way I fly is hell, myself am hell.
* * * * * *
The mind is its own place, and in itself,
Can make a heav'n of hell, a hell of heav'n.
I imagine to myself a man, whose genius and eloquence have made him the idol of the world. Perhaps listening senates have hung upon the music of his lips, and a thousand newspapers have wafted his praises to the boundaries of the earth. Perhaps thronged theatres, filled with all the rank and splendour of a kingdom, have poured forth at his feet their enthusiastic homage, for some new prodigy of his creative mind. Oh the exquisite, the intense joy, which thrills through all
the fibres of his frame! Common minds can form but a faint conception of it; superlative genius alone can appreciate the exstacy attending its own triumphs. I imagine now this deified mortal, dying under the displeasure of his Maker, and sent away into a region where flattery is no more, where he is surrounded with malice and contempt, and remorse, and pain, and despair--what must be the misery of such a sufferer! All his exquisite sensibility, all his capacious views, can then be only engines of torture, to exasperate the agonies of damnation. Oh my collegiate friends and associates! may our mental improvement qualify us for far happier work than this in the eternal world. May our enlarged capacities enable us there to estimate more fully the magnificence of heaven, and to explore with an angel's ken, the power, the wisdom, the love, and the glory of God.
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